How to Tweak Your Training Around Your Menstrual Cycle

You first instinct during your period would probably be to crawl under a blanket and take a long nap. It’s one of those moments when you feel low on energy, in a crapy mood and probably the last thing you want to hear is that you should go to the gym. 

Believe it or not, exercising during your menstrual cycle can actually help you to ease the cramps and to feel less bloated. Hence in this article I would like to share with you some of the benefits you will get if you work out during your period and some do’s and dont’s when it comes to exercising.

Benefits of working out during your menstrual cycle

While every woman has a different experience during her menstrual cycle, I recommend to all the girls out there to not skip your training days during your period. A gentle workout during this time it’s not going to harm you, it will only help you:

1. Ease the cramps

When you work out your blood circulation increases and it will also help you decrease the water retention. This will really soothe that achy sensation in your lower back and belly area (the cramps).

Exercising is also known for reducing your levels of stress and anxiety, both of which can make your period more unbearable as these can increase the cramps.

2. It will boost your mood

Workouts are great as it helps releasing endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. In fewer words, training will boost your mood.

3. No more headaches and fatigue

During your period when you are low on energy you will feel like resting. However, you might find it difficult to sleep during this time due to the fatigue, headaches, bloating and cramps. Guess what, this is the moment when you should actually move.

The first 10 minutes will be hard, but once you get moving it will strengthen blood circulation and activate your heart muscles. This will result in higher energy levels and help you beat the tiredness. You will feel much better and it will improve the quality of your sleep.

4. There’s a good chance your athletic abilities will improve

According to a study conducted in 2017 by the Umeå Univeristy in Sweden, women who work out during their menstrual cycle have experienced greater power, increased muscle mass, and more strength compared to when they work out during other times of the month when they're not menstruating. Now that’s something to motivate you to work out during your period!!

Training during your menstrual cycle

Now that you know why you should work out during your period, I would like to share with you some exercises that are recommended during this time of the month. As it can be uncomfortable to train while menstruating, I would like you to focus on more gentle movements and exercises like:

1. Light cardio or walking

Do anything from taking a walk while listening to your favourite playlist to a non-stressful jog around the park or go for a relaxing swimming. Choose one of your favourite exercises. You don’t want to go for a super challenging workout routine or for a difficult routine you’ve never tried before.

2. Yoga or Pilates

The two to three days leading up to your period is a great time to engage in activities like yoga, which can help relax your body and potentially reduce symptoms like cramping, breast tenderness, and muscular fatigue and soreness.

If you’re not experiencing any discomfort from your period, feel free to continue with your regular exercise routine. Just be mindful of the adjustments your body makes during this time. If you find that your body isn’t performing like it usually does, give yourself a break and ease up on the intensity.

3. Low-volume strength training and power-based activities

Due to the potential for an increase in strength during this time, including low-volume strength training and power-based activities is a smart move. This is a great time to do longer flow sessions that involve a mix of strictly strength work and cardio.

Workouts to avoid during your period

While some women don’t feel the discomfort of menstrual cycles, other can go through really painful experiences. If you are one of the lucky ones’, then you can go ahead and exercise like you usually due just make some adjustments so you can feel as comfortable as possible.

However, if you are part of the second category, you need reduce the training stress and volume while on your period. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train at all, it just means to cut back a little bit. If you’re feeling unusually tired, you may want to cut back on intense cardiovascular or endurance-type training.
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